Building and qualifying a list of target investors is a critical first step when raising capital for your startup. Here's how to use Foundersuite's Investor Database to speed up the process.
For seed stage startups, we recommend aiming for a list of at least 100-200 potential targets. Fundraising is a "numbers game" and if you're converting 5-10% of your pitches into commitments you're doing well.
To hammer home this point, Pandora's founder famously pitched over 300 VCs before he got a "yes" (the company is now listed on NYSE). Similarly, Kathryn Minshew, CEO of TheMuse pitched 148 investors before she finally got one to put down a term sheet.
It's a numbers game, and we've got some "numbers of our own" to help you succeed. We built a database of over 50,000+ angels and VCs to browse from.
Here are a few common questions and tips for getting the most out of it.
What kind of investors are in the Foundersuite database? Are they only in the United States?
Of the 50,000 investors in our database, about 2/3rds are angels, with the rest being a mix of Venture Capitalists and some Private Equity and HNW investors. It does not currenlty contain LPs (e.g. pension funds who invest in venture funds).
The mix is roughly half based in the US, half global. For example, a search on "New York" returns 292 pages of results, whereas a search on "London" returns 143 pages of results, "Toronto" returns 37 pages, and "Sydney" returns 18 pages of results.
How do I search this investor database?
First we assembled the list of 50k investor names (see below), then we tagged each investor with a Market Tag and a Location Tag. To search the list, you MUST search use one or more of the preset tags (i.e. you cannot "free form" search the database -- we'll likely add this feature later).
To find the best Market Tag, start typing the name of your industy -- then pause for a moment -- then select from the suggested keywords in the drop down mentu. For example, if you're in Fin Tech, start typing "F - I - N" then pick from the resulting choices.
Try a few different alternative keywords (e.g. "artificial intelligence" vs. "machine learning" or "marijuana" instead of "cannabis").
Importantly, when you add multiple Market Tags, it's an <OR> function and will expand your search. When you add a Location Tag, it's an <AND> function and will narrow your search results.
Another tip is to search only by your location. Importantly, location search works best using CITY names, for example, use "London" instead of "United Kingdown" and if you add more locations in your region, your results will grow.
As another example, if you're a startup in Australia, try searching on "Sydney" plus "Melbourne" plus "Perth."
Can I search by a person's name or fund name?
Not in this section of Foundersuite. To search by a person's name, go back to the main Investor Board and click the "Add Investor" button, then start typing the person's name. If he or she is in our databse, we will automatically pull their profile, social links, and picture if avaialble. If they are not in the database, you can still add him or her by manually entering the info and clicking "Save."
What happens when I click the "Add To Research" button? Is the investor notified?
No. They are not notified. An investor card is created on your Investor Board in the Research column with that investor's name and social details. Most of our users will typically spend some time going through the list they created and "qualifying" each lead by looking at their LinkedIn profiles to make sure they do indeed invest in your sector / stage / geography etc.
What investor information is provided in the search results?
Generally, a short bio, a profile picture, and icons which link through to their various online profiles, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and AngelList pages. When possible, we also link through to their blog or personal web page.
The goal of providing this info is: i) to help you learn more about each investor to decide if they are a good fit for you; and ii) so you can "map" your mutual connection paths and find someone to make the warm introduction.
Why don't you provode their email addresses?
We don't provide their email information because, frankly, the temptation to start sending cold emails (or even worse, mass spamming) can be too much for many founders. Cold emails are absolutely the WRONG way to rasie capital, and can acutally hurt your odds of successfully raising money.
We are committed to building tools to help you do it the right way.
Before you're tempted to start sending cold emails, please watch this short video.
When I add investors to my Investor Board, do they get added to your database?
No, The investors you bring into the system are viewable by you and you only. They are not added to the master database.
How did you build this database?
To build the database, we first compiled and assembled several master lists of angels, VCs, and PE firms using our own algorithm. Next, we spent several thousand human-hours manually researching the social links and bios for the investors.
Thus, in general the data provided are the investors' own links; assuming they keep their LinkedIn, Facebook, Website, and AngelList pages current, the data should be accurate and up-to-date.
How much does it cost?
It is free to search the investor database. There are no limits to the number of searches you can run. When you find an investor you like and you click "Add To Research" that investor is added to your Investor CRM. You can add up to 25 investors into your CRM on the free plan.
How can I trust this info is correct?
We strive to provide accurate info, and if you find something wrong please let us know; however, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of every single field. If you need a higher level of information, you might consider using Pitchbook or CB Insights (keep in mind these services-- each of whom employ 100's of data scientists -- run between $15,000 up to $100,000 annually).
Our goal is to provide a simple and easy to navigate "fishing hole" to help you build your target list at a reasonable cost.
Will you introduce me to the investors I find?
Sorry, no... that's not how fundraising works :) To get introduced to investors, you must go through a "warm intro" from someone who knows you and who knows the investor. Any site that promises to directly match you with investors is probably a scam.
That said, we have made dozens of intros for our customers -- ones we have gotten to know personally at our events or online.
Can I export the data?
Yes. If you are on a Silver or Gold subscription (see Foundersuite.com/Pricing) you can export your Investor Board to a CSV file. However, if you use the service in an attempt to scrape and export the database, your account will be terminated (and possibly further action will be taken).
How did we do? What did we forget? Anything else you'd like to know: shoot us a note!